One of the biggest complaints about downtown Dayton’s housing market is the lack of affordable product to buy.
Many people are unable or unwilling to spend $240,000 or more on a townhouse.
But a former schoolhouse that was transformed into apartments two decades ago has been turned into condos that range in price from $58,000 to $137,600.
Hawthorne School, just across the river from downtown in the McPherson Town Historic District, also is a short walk or Link bike trip from the destinations in the Central Business District and the Oregon Historic District, said Dave Williams, an owner’s representative for CityWide.
“This brings a price point that you don’t see in the downtown corridor,” Williams said. “You can’t find that anywhere.”
Hawthorne School at 226 McDaniel St. was built in 1886. The school closed in 1974, then served as a center for unwed mothers and later was used as a practice space for dance companies.
But in 1998, CityWide helped transform the vacant schoolhouse into 20 apartments that are now being turned into condos.
There’s five studios, the smallest of which costs $58,000. The most expensive studio is the model with upgraded features, lighting and appliances and runs $93,000.
Seven condos have one bedroom and one bathroom. Seven others have two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
One unit has two bedrooms and one bath. The units will offer between 496 and 1,188 square feet of space.
No two condos are exactly the same because they contain different sections of the old school, and adaptive-reuse projects tend to create unique living spaces, officials said.
Some condos have the old basketball court as their flooring or the original wood floors. One unit contains the old auditorium stage. Some units have old chalkboards.
The condos have tall windows and tin ceilings. The Victoria-era school building has a Romanesque style, officials say.
The units, except for the model, are being sold “as is” — meaning in their current condition — at affordable prices, considering surging prices downtown, Williams said.
New townhouses in downtown have been fetching nearly $200 per square foot.
The thinking is that buyers will get a good deal on their condos and then they may want to put some money toward upgrading or decorating their units, Williams said.
The model, with granite counters, modern and industrial lighting and new appliances, shows what can be done with a little investment, he said.
The Hawthorne School diversifies the urban center’s housing product and likely will bring some buyers into the market who were sidelined because of rising housing prices, said Steve Seboldt, the exclusive sales agent for the Hawthorne School condominiums.
“This will appeal to creative class people who want a piece of downtown but can’t afford $300,000 — this gives them entrée into the greater downtown area,” said Seboldt.
CityWide did a similar condo conversion about four years ago with the McCormick loft apartments near Fifth Third Field.
The apartments, which were turned into 10 condos, sold pretty quickly even though they had slightly higher prices (around $140,000 to $180,000), Seboldt said.
Hawthorne School condos are appealing because they are not “cookie-cutter” units since each has its own ambiance and character, officials sad.
Hawthorne School also sits in a popular and close-knit ring neighborhood that rarely has homes come on market.
“Whoever buys here is really buying into an active community with some gung-ho residents,” Seboldt said. “This is a very strong neighborhood.”
The Hawthorne condos are flats, which will appeal to people who don’t want stairs, Seboldt said.
Buyers also get a parking spot and have the option of buying a space in a covered garage. There’s a large grassy yard in the rear of the building, and green space elsewhere.
CityWide worked with Wright-Patt Credit Union to offer mortgage package for buyers that keep buyers’ monthly payments low, Williams said.
Including real estate taxes, condo fees and mortgage costs, buyers can expect to spend about $567 to $1,133 per month if they opt for the Wright-Patt financing package, he said.
The condo association will own the building.